Analysis of Alaskan burn severity patterns using remotely sensed data

Paul A. Duffy, Justin Epting, Jonathan M. Graham, T. Scott Rupp, A. David McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Wildland fire is the dominant large-scale disturbance mechanism in the Alaskan boreal forest, and it strongly influences forest structure and function. In this research, patterns of burn severity in the Alaskan boreal forest are characterised using 24 fires. First, the relationship between burn severity and area burned is quantified using a linear regression. Second, the spatial correlation of burn severity as a function of topography is modelled using a variogram analysis. Finally, the relationship between vegetation type and spatial patterns of burn severity is quantified using linear models where variograms account for spatial correlation. These results show that: 1) average burn severity increases with the natural logarithm of the area of the wildfire, 2) burn severity is more variable in topographically complex landscapes than in flat landscapes, and 3) there is a significant relationship between burn severity and vegetation type in flat landscapes but not in topographically complex landscapes. These results strengthen the argument that differential flammability of vegetation exists in some boreal landscapes of Alaska. Additionally, these results suggest that through feedbacks between vegetation and burn severity, the distribution of forest vegetation through time is likely more stable in flat terrain than it is in areas with more complex topography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Alaska fire
  • Fire variograms
  • Normalised burn ratio
  • Spatial ANOVA

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